Cerro Pachon is located 10km southeast and 0.5km higher than CTIO (Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory), at an altitude of 2.7 km, in the Chilean Andes. 

The geographical coordinates of the SOAR telescope are:
Geodetic latitude: -30º 14' 16.41"
Geodetic Longitude: -70º 44' 01.11"
Geodetic height: 2748 m
Elevation: 2713 m
Geocentric Latitude: -30º 04' 14.89"
Where for the geodetic latitude and longitude, south and west are negative, the geodetic height (in m) is measured with respect to the WGS-84 ellipsoid, the elevation (H) is measured with respect to the EGM96 geoid ("mean sea level").

Cerro Pachón is about a 1h 45min drive east of the city of La Serena, where the SOAR offices and headquearters are located.  The observatory can be accessed by driving on Route 41 for 50 km, then making a right on the dirt road that extends for another 50 km to Cerro Pachón, and also leads to the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO). However, public access is restricted by a guarded gate just a few hundred meters from the main Route 41 road.

Visiting SOAR

Though CTIO has public visitor program on weekends, SOAR does not have a similar program yet, but special visits can be arranged for small groups with a demonstrated interest in astronomy; please see the NOIRLab Public Visits page for more information. You can also e-mail us at  soar@noirlab.edu 


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On the same mountain as SOAR, about 0.4km far from north, is the Gemini South Observatory, close enough to access Gemini instruments and its mirror-coating facility. At the end of a narrow access road is the leveled 3.600 m²  plataform (142m long and 35m wide at the larger point), on which SOAR sits.

Updated on September 2, 2022, 9:02 am